80-year-old West TN cold case homicide reopened - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

80-year-old West TN cold case homicide reopened

Elbert Williams (Source: WMC Action News 5) Elbert Williams (Source: WMC Action News 5)
BROWNSVILLE, TN (WMC) -

A nearly 80-year-old West Tennessee cold case homicide has been reopened.

In 1940, Elbert Williams of Brownsville was the first NAACP worker in the country killed fighting for civil rights.

There has been a long campaign to get the case reopened.

Jim Emison has dedicated almost all of his retirement years to trying to solve the Elbert Williams homicide case. 

He's tried at the local, state, and federal levels to try to get someone to reopen the case, and Wednesday all of his hard work has finally paid off.

Inside Emison's study, he's surrounded by countless binders of research of a case he's spent the past five years of his life obsessing about.

Elbert Williams, a member of the Brownsville chapter of the NAACP, was abducted from his home and killed after trying to register people to vote.

His body is buried somewhere at Taylor Cemetery in an unmarked grave.

Haywood County District Attorney Garry Brown announced Wednesday that he's opening the case.

The reopening of the case comes on the heels of the Tennessee legislature passing the Civil Rights Cold Case bill this past session.

Rep. Johnnie Turner (D-Memphis) sponsored the bill in the house.

"There are other Elbert Williams and we will find out who did it," she said.

The bipartisan bill set up a hotline for cold case tips and a center for research of unsolved civil rights crimes in Tennessee.

The bill is the first in the country, and it was created in hopes that other states will follow suit and take up old cases just like Elbert Williams.

"It will start a trend, I hope. As Dr. King would say, 'let the justice flow like a river, let it flow.' Finally it's time to do that. We owe it to ourselves to do that," Emison said.

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Bodies of missing wife, daughters found in Colorado

    Bodies of missing wife, daughters found in Colorado

    Thursday, August 16 2018 4:05 AM EDT2018-08-16 08:05:05 GMT
    Friday, August 17 2018 2:20 AM EDT2018-08-17 06:20:10 GMT
    The man's pregnant wife, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste were reported missing Monday.The man's pregnant wife, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste were reported missing Monday.

    Authorities say the husband of a missing family in Colorado has been arrested in connection with the case.

    More >>

    Authorities say the husband of a missing family in Colorado has been arrested in connection with the case.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly